Some time last year my daughter said to me, 'I'm broken.' When your child says that, no matter what their age, it's your job to fix them. This is a joint blog about our efforts to fix her.
Grace's eczema arrived with blue hyacinth soap. She was a meticulous baby and a big fan of soap. Maybe it was a coincidence but that soap seemed to trigger her first bout of itching and redness. After that it got worse. She couldn't sleep for the itching and scratched herself raw. The doctor prescribed steroid creams and emollients. We tried bran baths and exclusion diets. Nothing gave long term relief. So for over 20 years she has suffered.
People tend to think of eczema as a mild illness: a chronic itch, a rash, nothing too distressing. Severe eczema is extremely distressing. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It is what you present to the world. It is in a state of extreme irritation and reactivity. It weeps, it scabs, it bleeds, it gets infected, it hurts where your clothes touch, it is hyper-reactive to all kinds of environmental, chemical, emotional and internal stimuli. And then there's the way it looks. With steroid creams and antihistamines and make-up it is acceptable. During flare ups and particularly when it is infected it makes a mockery of the people who agonise over a pimple or a bad hair day.
The medical advice is designed to dampen symptoms. It does nothing to address causes. We're going after causes. The first things we're going to try are:
Diet - high in anti-inflammatories, low in wheat, dairy and sugar
Biome - rebalance the gut and skin biome
Environment - remove known and potential triggers: dust, moulds, chemicals
Emotional - reduce stress
Topical - gradually reduce steroids, use of natural products
We'll be scouring the internet for the latest research and linking to other eczema blogs. The journey starts here.